Message from the Dean

Christopher Morphew Portrait

From Christopher C. Morphew, Dean

What really matters in education? Time and again, research has indicated that formal schooling can do only so much. Fifty years ago—at Johns Hopkins University, in fact—James Coleman and his team released their seminal Equality of Educational Opportunity report, which found that social and economic backgrounds had more impact on students’ academic achievement than the school they attended.

But we also know, from a preponderance of evidence, that education offers the most viable ticket out of poverty for millions of Americans—and that there are things we can do to identify and address contributing factors once thought outside the realm of education. Safety, wellness, and family engagement are three examples.

We know that a lack of safety during the school commute can affect absenteeism, test scores, and graduation rates. We know that a pair of prescription eyeglasses can lift outcomes for as many as 25 percent of elementary/middle students. We know that home visits by teachers can boost academic performance—not merely for those students visited, but for their entire school.

We know these things matter because Johns Hopkins School of Education researchers have tested, analyzed, practiced, and shared them here in Baltimore and all over the country.

In the late 19th century, Johns Hopkins University led the way in transforming the practice of medicine through rigorous application of evidence. Building on that foundation, we have the opportunity to transform education in the 21st century, putting success, safety, and well-being within the reach of all students.

We have many tools in our 21st-century arsenal, among them data analysis, learning science, entrepreneurial savvy, and innovative research that transcends disciplinary boundaries. But perhaps the most effective tool is a passionate commitment to evidence-based improvement of our schools and our children’s future. Thank you for all you bring to that collective effort—and thank you for your interest in the Johns Hopkins School of Education.




Christopher Morphew